LSS Awards

Leadership Staff Section Awards

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The Leadership Staff Section recognizes two legislative staff members for their contributions to their legislatures and NCSL's Leadership Staff Section:

Sallie Bolton
Administrative Assistant
Office of the Speaker
Kentucky General Assembly

Sallie was a leadership staffer at the Kentucky General Assembly from 1998-2014. She worked for Gregory D. Stumbo, Speaker of the House, where she had a variety of responsibilities including the preparation of correspondence, citations, publications, and constituent services. Having served in the U.S. Army, she handled all military issues for the House of Representatives, including the distinguished Memorial Ceremony for Kentucky’s fallen military servicemen and women held each year on the floor of the House of Representatives. In addition, her varied background includes serving our country for 20 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Major. She served two one-year tours in the Middle East. Sallie was a regular attendee at the NCSL Legislative Summit and the LSS Professional Development Seminars. Sallie quickly advanced through the ranks of LSS and served as the chair in 2013. Whenever help was needed, Sallie was the first person to volunteer her services. Sallie is a gregarious individual, and she employed her friendly personality to reach out to existing LSS members and to recruit newcomers to LSS.

Tom Wright
Chief of Staff
Office of the Speaker
Alaska Legislature

Tom’s career spans 25 years with the Alaska State House. He has served as chief of staff to three different speakers, currently to Speaker Mike Chenault. Wright’s responsibilities include working with all House and Senate members and the administration on legislation and strategy;  briefing staff on caucus matters; establishing legislative session priorities and committee management; coordinating end-of-session strategy between the House, Senate and administration; coaching other legislative staff in leadership and legislative management skills; and handling the Speaker’s personal legislation and other district and state matters.

An active member of NCSL since 2006, he served on the Leadership Staff Section as vice-chair (2007-2008), chair (2008-2009) and immediate past chair (2009-2010), working tirelessly to promote not only leadership staff, but all legislative staff.

Legislative Staff Achievement Award Criteria

A Legislative Staff Achievement Award nominee may be an individual, office, group or team whose contributions benefit the roles of leadership staff, and should meet a significant number of the following criteria. At least one of the awards is presented to an individual who has been an active participant in Leadership Staff Section activities, as evidenced by attendance at the Section's annual training seminars, and by other significant involvement with the Section. Other examples include:

  1. Identified differences and used them positively to benefit our organization, and ultimately our roles in individual states.

  2. Identified significant areas within which we can learn from one another.

  3. Outstanding credibility and genuine interest in networking ideas.

  4. Common understanding necessary for inclusive contributions and acceptance of Leadership Staff Section participants.

  5. Effectiveness in giving...self, time, resources, benefit our Section.

  6. Insights that can be developed through teamwork (ability to objectively process knowledge/patterns for contriving options for avoidance of common obstacles).

  7. Determined toward efficiency and betterment of professional selves or members; shares "best game" strategies.

  8. Promotes benefits gained from Leadership Staff Section.

  9. Develops solution(s) for various subterfuges; emanating realistic expectations versus frustrations - for example, "New Dimensions for Change" ideas.

  10. Improved communication and/or participation in Leadership Staff Section.

The recipients of the awards are announced during the NCSL Legislative Summit. The awards presentation occurs during the Leadership Staff Section Fall Professional Development Seminar.

Legislative Staff Achievement Award Winners




Sallie Bolton, Kentucky House

Tom Wright, Alaska House


Janeen Halverson, Utah Senate

Aurora Hauke, Alaska House


Terri Franks-Smith, Idaho House
Arnold Sowell, California Assembly


Mechelle Miller, Louisiana House


Mary Sue Jones, Idaho Senate


Erlinda Campbell, New Mexico Senate
Barbara Oakes, Maryland House


Nancy Butcher, West Virginia House


Rosina Boyd, New Mexico House
Kurt Deweese, Illinois House


James Lovette, Pennsylvania House
Dawn Reese, Pennsylvania House


Laura Bauman, Indiana Senate
Erin Russell, Nevada Assembly


Diane Steward, Maine Senate


Joyce Johnson, Tennessee Senate
John Mullins, West Viriginia House


Lori Rigby, Delaware House
Meredith Norris, North Carolina House


Mechelle Miller, Louisiana House
Charlotte Ellis Land, Kentucky House


Marsha Wise, Pennsylvania House
Kathy Holcomb, Michigan House


C. Louise Krautheim, Pennsylvania House
Jenifer Noland, Kentucky House


David W. Wilkins, Delaware Senate
Jan Shirrell, Indiana Senate


Thomas R. Tedcastle, Florida House
Toni Christman, Pennsylvania House


For More Information

If you have any questions about the awards or the nomination process, please call the LSS chair or any member of the LSS Awards Committee or contact Stacy Householder, the NCSL liaison for LSS, at (303) 364-7700.

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